Mason McTavish will be a Peterborough Pete after all.
The OHL club announced on Thursday morning that McTavish, their first-round pick (fifth overall) in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, will commit to the club.
League sources had indicated prior to the draft that McTavish and his agent had expressed to the Petes he would not report to Peterborough. McTavish did not appear at a press conference on April 6 introducing the Petes’ draft picks.
But apparently, the centre had a change of heart.
“I am very excited and honoured to commit to the Peterborough Petes,” McTavish said in a team press release. “It was a thorough journey to arrive at my decision. I strongly considered some unique opportunities in my birthplace of Switzerland and I thank those teams for their respected interest.”
McTavish said a detailed presentation of the team’s development plan from general manager Mike Oke, coach Rob Wilson and the team’s board of directors convinced him to choose Peterborough.
“(It) led me to conclude that the city of Peterborough, the Petes and the Ontario Hockey League is the only place to be,” McTavish said. “I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and get started.”
McTavish, a five-foot-11, 194-pound centre, notched 47 goals and 32 assists and had 109 penalty minutes in 41 games last season with the Pembroke Midget AAA Lumber Kings. His team advanced to the 2019 Central Region Telus Cup Championship, where he tallied five goals and three assists in four games.
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The resident of Carp, Ont., was named the Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) Midget AAA Most Valuable Player and the OHL’s HEO Minor Midget Player of the Year. He also earned the HEO’s Top Prospect Award after leading all players in goals and points.
“We felt very fortunate to be able to select a player of Mason’s calibre at fifth overall,” Oke said.
“He is a skilled forward that has size and strength and is very competitive and (has) what most observers would say is the best shot among 2003-born players in Ontario.”
McTavish was also a member of Team Ontario at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, where he registered two goals and two assists and 16 penalty minutes in six games. He also represented HEO at the 2019 OHL Gold Cup, where he scored a goal in four games.
Oke says the Petes were patient and communicated the positives of playing for the historic OHL team, including the experienced staff on and off the ice.
“As was the case with all OHL teams, we were well aware that Mason was a player in a unique situation in that he had opportunities that others in his age group may not have had,” Oke said.
“We respect that Mason, his family and his advisers took their time to evaluate those opportunities and are excited that they agree Peterborough is the best place for Mason to develop as a hockey player, as a student and as a person.”
McTavish was familiar with the Petes long before he was drafted. His father, Dale, played for the Petes from 1989-93 and was a member of the Petes’ OHL championship team in 1993.
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